An Amazing Ride on the Teleferiqo
At more than 2,740 meters above sea level and situated on the eastern slopes of Pichincha Volcano in the Andes Mountains, Quito in Ecuador is considered to be one of the highest cities in the world. Thanks to the new Teleferiqo, visitors to Quito now have an exciting opportunity to enjoy seeing the spectacular surroundings from a viewpoint which has previously been difficult to reach.
Quito’s Teleferiqo consists of eighteen gondolas which travel along a cable up the slope of the Pichincha Volcano to a hill known as Cruz Loma, which is situated at over 4,000 meters above sea level. The ride, which takes about ten minutes, is a breath-taking experience. As the gondola sways gently on its ascent, passengers get an excellent view of the changing vegetation of the Andean highlands as well as of the city below, which seems to get smaller and smaller the higher the gondola climbs. On reaching their destination at the top of Cruz Loma, visitors follow the pathway to the viewing point that is strategically placed to give visitors the best possible view.
From this elevated vantage point, visitors can enjoy a view of the Panecillo volcanic hill that lies between central and southern Quito. Panecillo is renowned for the 45 meter tall aluminum monument of a winged Madonna standing on a pedestal placed at the top of 200 meter high hill. In the distance viewers will see the old town and the airport, with what looks like toy planes landing and taking off. Further in the distance, Quito’s city limits are enclosed by the majestic snowcapped volcanoes of Cotopaxi, Cyambe and Antisena. The coffee shop near the drop-off point of Teleferiqo offers refreshments which include flavored oxygen for those who are adversely affected by the high altitude.
Adventurous and energetic tourists have the option of hiking up Ruca Pichincha volcano from the top of Cruz Loma, but need to be aware that the hike is a tough one and is made tougher because of the high altitude. The hike takes about three hours, depending on fitness levels, and takes hikers through a unique ecosystem known as páramo. Seemingly an austere environment, páramo supports a surprising amount of plant and animal life, including Andean foxes, rabbits and a number of raptors.
Tourists visiting Ecuador should be sure to include Quito on their list of places to visit. A trip on Teleferiqo up the slopes of Pichincha Volcano will give travelers a whole new perspective on the wonders of this part of Ecuador.